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Who owns Overwatch now Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard?

Bruno Cooke January 18, 2022
who owns overwatch

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In its biggest push into the world of gaming yet, Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard, the holding company that’s the intellectual property owner of Call Of Duty, Guitar Hero, World Of Warcraft and numerous other popular video games. So who now owns Overwatch following the acquisition?

Who owns Overwatch now Microsoft has bought Activision Blizzard?

Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, developed and published the video game Overwatch, which came out in May 2016 on Windows, PS4 and Xbox One.

A Nintendo Switch version followed in October 2019. It is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter, and it belongs to Blizzard Entertainment, which also operates the Overwatch League.

Since Blizzard Entertainment is part of Activision Blizzard and Activision Blizzard is now – or will soon be – part of Microsoft, Microsoft technically owns Overwatch. And with it, presumably, Overwatch League and Overwatch 2.

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A team playing an esports game on a computer

Overwatch League is a professional video gaming league. Its structure resembles that of traditional sports leagues: among its team owners are traditional sports executives such as Robert Kraft (owner of the New England Patriots) and Jeff Wilpon (chief operating officer of the New York Mets).

What other games besides Overwatch will Microsoft own?

Activision Blizzard produces some of the most well-known intellectual properties in the world of video gaming. 

It also owns and operates numerous studios under an independent studios model. These include Treyarch and Infinity Ward, two of the principal developers of Call Of Duty; High Moon Studios; and Toys For Bob, which is among the studios responsible for the Skylanders game series.

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Among the other games Activision Blizzard produces, which are now owned by Microsoft, are Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk’s, Candy Crush Saga, Heroes Of The Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo, and StarCraft.

Plus lots more.

The deal values Activision at $68.7 billion, according to The Verge. It represents Microsoft’s “biggest push into gaming”.

What other companies does Microsoft own?

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26 billion. Since its first acquisition in 1987, Microsoft has purchased an average of six companies a year. 12 of those, including Skype, Yammer, Nokia’s mobile and devices division, and GitHub, were worth more than a billion dollars. 

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Regarding the Activision acquisition, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said: “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.